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Iris Andraschek took the muse Castalia as the starting and pivotal point of her artwork - both from a space-structural point of view as well as thematically: the monumental shadow figure sits with the tip of her right foot exactly at the apex of the half-circle before the fountain. This creates the impression that the muse, suddenly after 100 years of perseverance, is possessed by a rebellious energy, and projects herself in a contemporary metamorphosis clear across the courtyard, in order to inscribe herself, in a gigantic negative image, into the ground’s surface. In the dynamic of this process, the allegorical guardian of a knowledge formerly understood as male becomes a multifaceted, even threatening figure, which points both to the past as well as the future.

For the revolutionary shadow silhouette, Andraschek chose from several image outlines such as, for example, Liberty by Eugène Delacroix, the rebellious "Riot Girl"9 of the 1990s, or the virtual cyber heroine Lara Croft. Andraschek searched in the area of the University itself for additional references. She invited women who teach there to stand before the camera and model the theme. From these consciously silhouette-like and formulaically conceived models, she generated the outline of the "shadow," which now stretches as an apparent anamorphosis of Castalia across the stone-tiled courtyard. In a formal, but also symbolic regard it is crucial that the "shadow" is not, as one might believe from a distance, painted on, and it does not consist of a layer, but an inlay of a dark stone - granite - which is embedded in the limestone pavement, whereby the grid pattern was preserved.

Iris Andraschek, one might say, likewise gives the idyll of the Arkadenhof a posthumous shock. With her stone inlay, the defiant female figure refers not only to a void and the associated assertion by women academics. She also evokes a precarious modernism when traditional gender roles and representational systems had begun to disintegrate in similar fashion. The avant-gardists overthrew the muses and the ideological pedestal on which they had been placed in the service of a male-defined symbolic order; yet this did not mean that women at the same time were granted the same rights as men. These had to be and must still be fought for. The muse has had it - and has for a long time; Iris Andraschek has impressively manifested this at the University of Vienna.

Excerpt from: the muse has had it. An index of stone in the Arkadenhof at the University of Vienna, Silvia Eiblmayr

Work description

The shadow inlay, in anthracite colored granite ("Nero Assoluto"), was embedded in the existing stone of the ground tiles. It is approx. 28 meters long and 9 meters wide. The outline of the shadow was developed as follows: in the first phase, a photographic work was produced in which women staff and women students of the University took a position on the non-representation of women in the University’s Arkadenhof, while standing on a dummy pedestal and posing as "live monuments." Additionally, they gave testimonials in interviews on the failure to recognize women at the University. From these photos and, in borrowing from the historical and contemporary representations of revolutionary figures of women, the artist generated the outline of a shadow. This figure was sketched in the inner courtyard of the University, emerging from the foot of the Castalia fountain, and later cut out of the existing limestone tiles. These were replaced by the granite tiles, custom cut to an exact fit, and installed on drainage mortar. The shadow figure retains the existing tile structure of the limestone; the tile pattern is unbroken.

The work is supplemented by two pedestals bearing inscriptions: The two stone blocks of anthracite colored granite ("Nero Assoluto") are placed at the open stairs to the Arkadenhof. Pedestal 1 bears the title, year installed, and name of the artist and the following inscription:
ERINNERUNG AN DIE NICHT STATTGEFUNDENEN EHRUNGEN VON WISSENSCHAFTERINNEN UND AN DAS VERSÄUMNIS, DEREN LEISTUNGEN AN DER UNIVERSITÄT WIEN ZU WÜRDIGEN. (In memory of women academics who were not honored and whose achievements the University of Vienna failed to recognize.)
The inscription on the second pedestal will be developed together with women academics at the University of Vienna in 2010.